March 6, 2012

Nefertem God of Perfume

Nefertem Egyptian God of Perfume
The last of the triad of Memphis-as it was constituted in pharaonic times-Nefertem was an unlikely son of Ptah and Sekhmet, for his demeanor was quite the opposite of his mother’s. The texts found in the Pyramid of Unas at Sakkara associated him with the lotus flower: “Unas has risen like Nefertem God from the lotus to the nostrils of Ra, and he goes forth from the horizon on each day, and the gods are sanctified by the sight of him.”


Nefertem Egyptian God
Later the Book of the Dead was to confirm this picture of Nefertem God. He seems to have been the god of fragrance or perfume, charged with preventing offensive odors from reaching the solar god during his passage each day through the sky. His mild manner was mirrored in the prayers spoken to him by the dead. As part of the ritual of purification before entering eternal life, the souls addressed the gods singly, pleading their innocence of some forty- two grievous sins. The prayer to Nefertem God demonstrates respect for his lack of guile: “Hail, Nefertem God, who comes forth from [Memphis]; I have not acted with deceit, and I have not worked wickedness.”

Aside from these few references, not much is known about the child of the chief parents of Memphis. The usual representation of him was that of man holding an ankh and wearing lotus blossom on his head. Sometimes he was depicted standing on a recumbent lion 0r with a lion’s head; the lotus headdress was invariable. The treasures of king Tutankamun include a wooden statue of the boy king emerging as the Sod Nefertem God from a lotus flower.

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